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Lack of snow impacting outdoor winter activities in Maine

UTV in Windham (WGME)
UTV in Windham (WGME)
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It's been the warmest start to January on record in Maine. That means little snow or ice and its impacting lots of outdoor activities like snowmobiling, ice fishing, and even smelting.

Jim's Camps in Bowdoinham posted an update on Monday, saying the river is still wide open. They’re aiming for a February 1 target date to get the ice fishing shacks out.

The Windham Drifters Snowmobile Club is hoping for a good storm soon because this is impacting it's their bottom line.

There are 40 miles of trails in Windham, and all the miles these trails have logged this year is from a lot of dedicated members using money from memberships and state grants to be ready to get as much out of this season as they can.

“Our seasons down here in southern Maine tend to be short and intense. We could do a ton of work and we could only be open for a month, sometimes only open for two weeks or three weeks,” said Barry Bernard, the treasurer for the Windham Drifters Snowmobile Club. “Anyone can come out and use our system, and we got 40 miles of trails here in Windham. It’s like a recreational paradise in southern Maine.

In 2020, the University of Maine released a study, saying snowmobiling provided more than $600 million to the state’s economy in 2019.

The Windham Drifters Snowmobile Club says Windham has the most registered sleds in the state. They have a big community patiently waiting to start their engines.

Treasurer Barry Bernard is used to deeper tracks this time of year.

“When we’ve got six inches to a foot of snow, and cold temperatures, all this mud and all this water here will be frozen, and we’re able to groom snow right over the top of that, and you wouldn’t even be able to see it,” Bernard said.

Bernard is usually dragging the snow in that side-by-side, not running over rocks and stumps.

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